By Shaun Bijani

Houston (CBS Houston)– I understand that at the very least, some of the current Texan players may want to keep Wade Phillips on as their new head coach because it would likely be an easy transition from the standpoint of them already knowing how he likes to operate. However, I think at this point in the franchises existence, having now entered the search for the 3rd head coach for the franchise, it is time for some new and younger blood. Many have discussed and most had agreed that prior to this season, this team as it currently is constructed, currently injured or not had a 2 year window to legitimately contend for a Super Bowl. I think that window still exists. The Texans need to bet on themselves, as John Lopez mentioned earlier this week, and while that is scary enough in itself, he’s correct. The following are actually 3 coaches that I believe the Texans should interview for the opening, although there is only one that I would stand up on a table and argue for, and that is Mike Zimmer. I know he’s never been a head coach, and doesn’t fit the criteria Bob McNair laid out at last week’s press conference, but I also think that once McNair gets knee deep in his search and has more discussions with the agency that is heading up the search for the new coach, his parameters might change a bit.

Lovie Smith – This is quite simply a guy, who in Chicago had everything at his disposal with exception of a real good offensive line. He had an owner that spent money, he usually had a real good defense, one that ranked inside the top 10 in 9 of his 12 season at the helm in takeaways. I mean, we can all look up the numbers to support the notion that he should get a hard look for the job here in Houston. I understand that there are also numbers that would support a fair argument that he shouldn’t be considered, such as the Bears having only played in 6 playoff games in the 12 years he’d been there, the fact they only won 3 of them and he took them to JUST one Super Bowl (2006 – lost to Colts). Depending on how this process goes, heck depending on a lot of factors of course, he and Jay Cutler may be a package deal to Houston, I could see both sides of that, in terms of that being a good/bad thing. Cutler will be 31 by the start of the 2014 season, and yes has had issues staying healthy in recent years, but if a good o-line is put around him with a coach he’s played for and is familiar with, who knows…sometimes a change of scenery makes a world of difference.

David Shaw – he got his first shot at head caching in 2011 for Stanford after Jim Harbaough left for the NFL, and has since done a terrific job. He’s been coaching since 1995, starting with Washington State as a LB’s coach. He’s worked on both sides of the ball, but is an offensive mind. He’s coached for the eagles, ravens and raiders in the NFL…all on the offensive side as WR coach and QB coach. Prior to Harbough’s exit at Stanford he coordinated the offense working mostly with the passing game.

Mike Zimmer – Zimmer is 57 years old, will be 58 in June, has never been a head coach at any level but is a defensive mind who has coordinated defenses since 1989 at Washington University he got his first shot in the NFL in 1994 with the cowboys, worked with the falcons and has been with the Bengals since 2008. He is a 4-3 guy, has lead the Bengals to a top 10 ranked defense since 2009 when he was asst. coach of year as voted by pro football weekly, pro football writers and the browns considered him in their head coaching hunt before opting for rob Chudzinski during 2013 off-season. Zimmer has earned high praise by bill parcels, which he coached under during his time in Dallas. Zimmer is known for being a blunt, no BS type of guy, and maybe that’s exactly what the Texans need. When interviewed for the Dolphins job last year prior to them hiring Philbin, it was reported the dolphins shied away from his brutal honesty. Zimmer once called bobby Petrino a “gutless bastard” for the way he exited the Falcons job years ago without telling any of his assistants first. McNair wants a character guy with experience, now Zimmer might not have head coaching experience anywhere, but he’s long overdue for that opportunity in my opinion.

Ray Horton – (defensive coordinator in NFL-cards and browns 2011-current…he is also a former player who played 10 season with Bengals and cowboys) – He was once considered a possible replacement for the ken Whisenhunt when he was fired by the cards. Arizona eventually went with Bruce Arians who was interim for chuck Pagano in Indianapolis when Pagano fought off cancer in 2012. Horton’s defensive philosophy is a 3-4. He likes to blitz a lot, and is known for finding creative ways to get to the QB. Hortons cards defense in 2012 blitzed 47% of the time….the NFL average is 31%. When Horton sent 5 rushers(174 snaps), they recorded 59 QB hits, hurries and sacks. On 64 snaps when Horton sent 6 rushers, 35 combined hits, hurries and sacks were created. During the 2012 season Hortons defense was top 5 in passer rating allowed, interception percentage, was 3rd in red zone defense, and fourth in takeaways. Horton comes from a good coaching pedigree which includes 7 years as DB’s coach with the Steelers, working for d-coordinator Dick Lebeau. He’s 53 years old, will be 54 in April. I like him and if the Texans don’t call him, someone will down the road.


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